Michael Franks – Tiger in the Rain (1979)

by astro man

Just before the turn of a new decade, Michael Franks added a phenomenal album to the 70’s era best know for it’s funk, psychedelia, disco, and groovy tunes; and with the emergence of grunge and metal. A genre that has been around for a long time is jazz and Michael Franks nailed it on this album. Tiger in the Rain was released in 1979 as a jazz vocal album. The album incorporates many different instruments including strings, horns, organs, guitars, congas, and the list goes on and on. There is a large list of personnel who took part on this album. All of these musicians were very talented. This talent combined with a vision that Michael Franks had, helped create a consistent album filled with emotions that could all fit on a rainy lazy day.

Lately, Tiger in the Rain has been one of my favorite albums. The tone of guitars and the mellow feeling this album gives are nirvana. Not only are the musicians great, but Michael Franks does an extraordinary job with lyrics. “Sanpaku” is the opening track for this album and the melody of this song is very easy going. The keys on this song are soothing to the ear and the laid back vocals from Michael mix well. With lyrics like “I chewed the root until my brain was fried / I can’t remember all the highs I tried / I always crashed no matter where I flew / sinking in the sands of Sankapu…” -It is hard not to enjoy lyrics like that.

“Hideaway” is track that exemplifies the evolution of jazz. There are beautiful saxophone and jazz guitar parts that make the flow of this song very natural. Looking for a place to get away and find some recreation. To take a love out on the highway and take it all the way to a getaway.

The last song that I would recommend listening to is the self titled track “Tiger in the Rain.” The tone of this song is the epitome of what this album is about. The strings and saxophone sway you along through the song as Michael Franks sings the chorus  “He’s a tiger in the rain / It’s the thunder and lightning / He can’t explain / A tiger in the rain / Who’s frightened”- even those who are strong and courageous are unsure of the mad world out there.

The consistency of this album definitely makes it limited to times of listening. I recommend it during days of relaxtion and lounging around in your own comfort or an all day rainy day kind of album. If you are a fan of jazz you are definitely in for a treat with this album. This album may not be for everyone, but for those of you who like it will appreciate it.

Listen to the full album below on spotify.